News / USA

Tensions Flare During White House Debt Talks

US President Barack Obama (C) conducts a meeting with congressional leadership on deficit reduction in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, July 13, 2011
US President Barack Obama (C) conducts a meeting with congressional leadership on deficit reduction in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, July 13, 2011

President Barack Obama and eight Republican and Democratic congressional leaders hold a fifth round of negotiations on Thursday at the White House aimed at achieving a deficit reduction and debt compromise. Talks on Wednesday ended with a tense confrontation between Obama and a key Republican lawmaker.

What happened?

Though the White House did not comment, and accounts by Democratic and Republican aides and a key Republican lawmaker differ, all indicate that the nearly two hour meeting was the most contentious to date, as all sides face increasing pressure to find a solution to the debt impasse.

As Republican aides told it, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor himself was quoted as saying to reporters, Obama abruptly walked out at the end of the meeting following a tense exchange over how to resolve the deficit and debt impasse.

Democratic congressional sources disputed that, saying Obama spoke in frustration about political posturing and lack of compromise, but simply ended the meeting.

Whatever did occur underscores the high stakes in the negotiations to come up with a compromise that can avert a federal government debt default on August 2. The tense exchanges also came as a major financial rating firm, Moody’s, warned that the the U.S. credit rating was on watch for possible downgrade.

McConnell proposal

Earlier, White House spokesman Jay Carney addressed a proposal by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for a procedurally-complex legislative tactic that would have essentially transferred authority, and political responsibility, for raising the debt ceiling from Congress to the president.

McConnell proposed passing legislation to allow Obama to raise the debt limit in three stages by $2.5 trillion, through the 2012 presidential election year, but requiring the president to list spending cuts at least as high as increases in the debt ceiling.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (File Photo)
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (File Photo)

Carney called the proposal an acknowledgment by Republicans that there is no alternative to raising the debt limit. He did not reject it outright but said Obama remained focused on achieving the largest possible deficit reduction deal.

"The linkage that was created that tied significant deficit reduction to this deadline, was so that we could work together, roll up our sleeves and do this," said Carney. " Well the president is ready and willing to do that, he is willing to make compromises, he is willing to go big here."

McConnell spoke on the Senate floor before he and other lawmakers went to the White House for their fourth round of talks with Obama.

"Americans don't want tax hikes, they don't want phony spending cuts, they don't want a debt disapproval plan, and they don't want us to default on our debts," he said. "They want real cuts, and real reform, now."

In a CBS News television interview Tuesday, the president responded to McConnell's statement that a solution to the nation's deficit spending problems was unobtainable with Obama in the White House.

"You know, Mr. McConnell said, I think the day I was elected, that his job was to try to see me beat.  I think what the American people are looking for is not that kind of partisan politics," Obama said.

Worst case scenario

In this photo provided by CBS News, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner talks about the debt crisis on CBS's 'Face the Nation' in Washington, July 10, 2011
In this photo provided by CBS News, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner talks about the debt crisis on CBS's 'Face the Nation' in Washington, July 10, 2011

White House negotiations have included Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who has warned of the dire consequences of a debt default on August 2. Geithner will meet with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden before a fifth round of talks with lawmakers on Thursday.

In testimony to a congressional committee on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said a default would have wide-ranging impacts.

"Clearly if we went so far as to default on the debt it would be a major crisis," Bernanke said.

White House spokesman Carney was asked on Wednesday if Obama would rule out a very short stop gap measure, if negotiators were on the edge of a larger compromise  Carney responded that  the president believes there is momentum toward achieving a significant balanced deficit reduction package.

As he presses his case for a large deficit solution coupled with a debt ceiling agreement, Obama will give interviews on Thursday to major media market television stations, just two hours before Republican and Democratic lawmakers return for what could be a crucial round of talks.




You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs